Kathy Foran - REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West

Posted by Kathy Foran on 3/11/2018

Whether you're looking for your first house, a vacation home, or a retirement condo, there's always an element of excitement in finding a new place you can call your own!

Although buying and selling real estate can be stressful, especially if you've never done it before, being prepared and knowing what to expect can help keep things on an even keel.

Similar to planning a vacation or a cross-country trip, you'll want to avoid missed connections, frustrating delays, and wasted time. When it comes to buying a home, a little research, planning, and expert advice can go a long way toward ensuring a smooth journey. Here are a few specifics:

Check your credit score: Your credit rating has a major impact on your ability to successfully apply for a mortgage and be offered a relatively low interest rate. Knowing your credit rating can help you understand your options, avoid unexpected surprises, and take action to correct errors in your credit report or improve your credit profile.

Prepare a wish list: One of the keys to getting what you want in a new home is to clarify and prioritize the features that matter the most to you. Your checklist can include everything from lot size and architectural style to the reputation of the school district and proximity to stores. Some house hunters also place a high value on features like a fireplace, screened-in porch, and an open floor plan.

Find a good real estate agent: A buyers' agent can provide you with an immense amount of help in finding properties for sale that meet your specifications. They can also provide assistance, advice, and guidance on the many steps involved in going from loan applicant to new home owner. An experienced agent can also negotiate the best possible deal, in terms of price, seller concessions, and other advantages.

Meet with mortgage lenders: A crucial step in preparing to become a homeowner is understanding the mortgage application process, knowing how much banks would be willing to lend you, and determining an affordable price range. Meeting with lenders is also the first step to comparing interest rates and choosing a financial institution that would best suit your needs. Here's a helpful tip from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: "Getting a preapproval letter helps you show sellers that you are a serious buyer – but it doesn’t commit you to a lender."

When it comes to searching for and buying a house, probably the best advice anyone could give you is "stay the course!" Let's face it: It's easy to give up, get discouraged, or settle for a home that's less than what you really want. However, when you adopt a "stay the course" mindset, you'll do a better job of staying motivated, focused, and well organized until you find just the right home for you, your family, and your future!

Posted by Kathy Foran on 11/6/2016

Believe it or not, flood insurance may prove to be a valuable investment, even if your home is not located in a floodplain. Flood insurance covers physical damage to your residence or personal items due to floods. Thus, flood insurance offers added protection for your home and belongings, making it exceedingly valuable for homeowners. As a homebuyer, you may search for residences that are located outside of floodplains. But it is crucial to note that even a few inches of water can cause substantial property damage in a short period of time, and a residence remains at risk for flood damage even if it falls outside of a floodplain. So should you purchase flood insurance for your new home? Ultimately, there are many factors to consider, including: 1. Your Homeowners Insurance Policy Homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage. As such, you likely will need to purchase a flood insurance policy if you want to safeguard your residence against flood damage. Those who reside in designated flood zones will need flood insurance. Meanwhile, flood insurance usually represents a valuable option for those who live in inland areas or away from major rivers as well. If flooding occurs, you'll want to do everything possible to protect your home and assets. And with flood insurance, you'll be better equipped to safeguard your residence and belongings in the event of a flood. 2. Your Umbrella Policy With an umbrella policy, you are able to add liability coverage beyond what is offered in a standard homeowners insurance policy. An umbrella policy also offers protection against major claims and lawsuits to further safeguard your home and assets. Although you might have purchased an umbrella policy for extra liability insurance, this coverage does not apply to flood damage. As a result, you will need to prepare accordingly if you want to insure your home against floods. 3. The Coverage Provided by Flood Insurance Although flood insurance offers value for homeowners, it may fail to deliver full protection for your home and belongings. Federal flood insurance policies commonly provide coverage up to a set amount for your home and possessions. In the event that your residence or belongings are worth more than these totals, you'll only receive compensation from your insurer up to the federally mandated amount. When purchasing flood insurance, it is important to consider the value of your home and belongings. If you feel that flood insurance coverage fails to meet your needs, you may want to consider excess flood insurance to increase your total coverage. Furthermore, discussing your flood insurance options with a real estate agent may be a great idea. This professional will be able to tell you if your new home is in a floodplain and offer tips to ensure that you find a residence that satisfies all of your needs. Floods can cause serious damage quickly, but homeowners who are ready for the dangers posed by these natural disasters can plan appropriately. Therefore, homeowners may want to consider purchasing flood insurance, as this coverage will protect their homes and belongings if flood damage occurs.

Posted by Kathy Foran on 2/9/2014

For many seniors, the idea of selling the home that they have raised a family in can be met with some resistance. And while many seniors are perfectly capable and comfortable taking care of a large home, there are some who would much rather do away with the hassle of home maintenance and lawn upkeep, opting instead to spend their golden years in a more relaxed setting with a more comfortable climate.  If you find yourself thinking about selling your home and settling in greener pastures, then there are a few things you will need to consider.

    • Are you moving because you want to, or because you think that taking care of your home is becoming a burden?
    • Do you want to move closer to family?
    • Is the climate you currently live in aggravating any medical conditions you may have?
Firstly, you must ask yourself what you'd want in your new residence.  Do you want to live in a place where things like lawn care and home maintenance are taken care of for you, or would you just prefer a smaller home?  Would you like to stay within your community, or are you thinking about an out-of-state move?  Florida has long been known for its retirement communities, but places like Arizona and New Mexico are quickly becoming retirement hot spots due to their affordability and warm climate. A few things to consider.
      • Availability and access to medical care
      • Would you like to have access to a swimming pool for exercise?
      • Are you open to the idea of living in an area with group activities?
Once you've settled on a potential destination, it's time to establish how much your home is worth.  A qualified real estate agent can help you through this process. For more moving tips for seniors, please click here.